For the first time in my adult life, I find myself unemployed. Three weeks ago, I succumbed to the axe on August 28, 2013, which will forever be known as Bloody Wednesday in Sport Ngin folklore. Throughout the past several years, as the economy declined, I really never feared for my job. I always thought, naively, that I was safe. That if there were going to be cutbacks, they would cut the slackers and under-performers first.
I was living in a fool's paradise.
Bloody Wednesday was, without a doubt, the single worst day of my career and even one of the worst days of my life. The news of the layoff came from out of the blue and caught me completely off-guard. It was a gut-wrenching experience.
I absolutely loved working at Sport Ngin. In almost every way, it was my dream job. The perfect blend of two things I really love - design and sports. I had a tremendous amount of influence over the direction of the product. I built a team of user experience designers and we were doing some fantastically fun work, designing Sport Ngin's next generation of tools to manage sports leagues, teams and tournaments. I had a blast designing two iPhone apps while I was there. I worked with some really smart people, worked for a great boss and made some good friends. I thought it would last MUCH longer than two years. I had mentally ripped up my resume and would have been content to work there the rest of my career.
One day, you're having a blast designing a new sign in screen for the app, the next day you are sitting at home, locked out of your laptop and wondering, "why me?"
I dealt with a good measure of rejection and quite a few "no, I do NOT want this!" moments for a couple of days. Thanks to the unending support and encouragement from my awesome wife, I was able to get back on the proverbial horse and prepare for the next phase of my career. I still don't know what that looks like, or even when that next phase will start, but my LinkedIn network has proven to be pretty valuable and I have several leads I am following, some definitely pretty promising.
In the meantime, as I proactively wait for the process to play itself out, I am learning a few things about life and about myself.
- As painful as this is/was for me, it is nothing compared to the hardship and turmoil many others have to face on a daily basis.
- Being mindful of the previous point, I have tried counting my blessings, but they are too many.
- Even when you think you are in control, you are not. So don't act like you are; instead give control to God and walk in His will.
- Companies are in business for one reason and one reason only - to make money.
- From now on, I will put much less stock in the "operating values" of any company.
- I am thankful for the talents God has given me to earn a living and take care of my family doing something that I am not only good at, but something that I really love doing - not many people get to do that.
All the unexpected time I have now has really been a blessing in disguise. This all happened right before school started. So for the first three weeks of school, I've been able to say good-bye to the kids in the morning and be there when they get home, help them with homework and, in general, just spend more time with them. Being at home more during the day has also been a fun time for Cori and I to spend more time together. We've been able to eat lunch together almost every day, we have time to take walks together and have even gone on day dates while the kids are at school. And the weather has been perfect. A guy couldn't have asked for a better time to have days off.
If you know of any great user experience design opportunities, feel free to send them my way. I am confident that this period of my career/life will be over soon. Until then, I'm enjoying what I get. And if what I get is more time with my family, then I have been given a wonderful gift.